We took what has become an annual unit road trip. This year’s goal was to explore the local communities of the Eastern Townships. Our unit had selected key sites and each day was coordinated by one of our third-year girls. She was navigator, chief cook, liaison with our contractors and overall decision maker. The girls had prepped, planned and managed the daily truck packing like pros.
– Heather Martin
Here is our girls’ summary of the trip:
A Series of Fortunate Events
Granby Zoo (by Melissa, Meaghan, Emilie, Sybil with Cynthia)
We began our trip with a visit to the Granby zoo! The morning was hot and fresh with excitement as our group set foot in the zoo and began our first of many adventures planned for the week. From the Asiatic black bears and red pandas of Asia to the majestic leopard who calls South America home, our day was filled with exciting discoveries and interesting animals from all over the world at our fingertips. Once we’d visited the animals and made quick work of our tacos in a bag, we headed to the water park to cool off and escape the warm rays of the sun. We glided down the Lazy River on tubes all while avoiding the watery traps set up for extra fun among friends. Next, a few of us set off to conquer the water slides that stood taunting us at the same time the others dared to tame the mighty wave pools, all having a good laugh as they got caught up in the powerful waves crashing down upon them. Unfortunately, every good day must come to an end and as such our visit to the zoo drew to a close but the memories and photos we captured will surely stay with us for a very long time.
After a night at Yamaska Park, we hit the road heading into Sherbrooke to the Museum of Science and Nature. We experienced the evolution of the area through earthquakes, the Ice Age, and the power of rain to erode the rocks and create the rivers and gorges popular in this area, all in 4D. The other exhibits helped us learn about Inuit technology through interactive exhibits including a virtual reality dog sled ride, information on the changing environment of the land in Quebec and an exhibit of real animals (stuffed by taxidermists) to understand more about them. After a visit to some of the historic murals nearby and a walk past a power dam to see the Magog River Gorge, we settled at a park for a picnic.
The next step was to head to Coaticook where we HAD to stop for ice cream.
Then we played a round of Glo Golf and, after dinner, headed off in the dark to enjoy the Foreta Illumina and watch the fairies help vanquish the enemies so the valley could live in harmony.
Capelton Mines & Uplands Cultural Centre (by Reaghan, Katrina, Hannah & Amy with Elaine)
When we went to the Capelton Mine we discovered that the weather really influenced the work in the area. In the Capelton mine the only light source was a candle they attached to their hat.
The workers used a “fleuret” and a hammer to make holes for the black powder that exploded the rock and gave us the Calpopirate. One hole could take up to 4 hours to create, which means they could only make 3 holes daily. They would keep mules underground to pull up to 4 tones of Calcopirate. Before they brought the mules down, they would not feed them for 3 days so that they would not get sick. They would keep the mules there until they were dead or could not work anymore because of loss of strength. If they were ever brought back up, they would be blind because they were used to the darkness in the tunnels. The miners put wooden pillars in the mine and every morning a miner was sent to hit each pillar with a hammer to check if it was safe. If there was an echo, it would mean that it was safe. If there was no echo, it would mean that there was pressure on the pillar and the mine could collapse at any moment. The miners also used rats to check the safety of the mine. Each miner would have two rats that could sense the vibrations of the rocks 24 hours before humans could. So if the miners saw a stampede of rats running to the exit, they knew that their safety was compromised. Because they only had a candle for light, the fire almost always went out when running out of the mine and everything went pitch black. Luckily, because of how long they had worked at the mine, they knew the paths by heart. The miners would start working at the age of 14. Usually, their first job would be disposing of the workers waste. At this mine, it was considered bad luck if there was a female present, which means all the workers were male. Eustis Mine was closed much later in history. So they had access to more modern technologies, such as dynamite. Tourists are not able to visit Eustis, because of the unstable structures. The miners were paid by the amount of Cacopirate they recuperated every day. The average pay was 1,10$ per day. In those days 1,10$ was a lot of money, but Capelton money was only usable in Capelton. They could exchange it against Canadian money, but for a lot less. They would usually exchange their money so that they could buy alcohol from a village they called Whisky-ville. They could not get alcohol in Capelton because the town had banned it so that miners did not come to work drunk, which could cause danger to many lives. In conclusion, this mine was very interactive and interesting because they still had some of the former equipment. For example, they still have the stables for mules and even some lounge chairs that were built with two pieces of wood. These chairs were used during their lunch break.
Uplands Cultural Centre (Emma, Giada, Ariel, Zoe with Heather)
Abridged Version by Emma
We had some tea,
it was not free,
at the end we all had to pee.
Full Version by the group
We went to Uplands Cultural Center,
we walked through the gates to enter.
We sat in the sun, that was not quite fun,
But the umbrellas made our day brighter.
We got plates of food
brought by a young dude,
the food was yummy,
sandwiches, tea and sweats filled our tummy
we did not leave any lighter.
We went to visit the house,
we were as quiet as a mouse.
We saw bedrooms, teacups and artwork galore,
there were toys and history spread out on two floors,
but the one toilet made us wish we had diapers.
We recommended this place, it will give you a happy face.
Enjoy tea with your friends and the fun never ends
Our day ended after a beautiful drive through the rolling hills at Mont Megantic Park.
Town of Lac Megantic & Astrolab at Mont Megantic SEPAQ Park. (By Giada, Emma, Ariel, Zoe with Heather)
We were really tired, we thought we were gonna die…it was day 4. To start off the day we went to the town of Lac Megantic to learn about the tragedy that happened in 2013. While we were there, we saw a bunch of structures to represent the people that sadly died during the train crash. We used the Balado App to do a self-guided tour. For lunch, we enjoyed pizza from Pizzeria Megantic by the shores of lac Megantic. After lunch, we retreated to the beach for a nice splash in the water. The water was chilly, yet refreshing. At the beach, we shared some laughs watching our group play in the bouncy houses that were set up. We went to rustic cabins with no running water or electricity, but we made it! For supper, we had fire-grilled pork chops, rice and veggies. Once we ate and we were all cleaned up, we made our way through the forest to get to the Astrolab presentations. The hike to the astrolabe was a kilometre long, we were happy to see those chairs! The presentation was spot on; we learned a lot about space and moon landings because it is the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. To get to the observatory we shuffled into a big yellow bus. At the observatory we took our seats to watch another presentation. Though some of us slept through it (by accident) it was educational. For the second half of the presentation we walked to the second observatory where we were going to see stars through a HUGE telescope. The weather was crazy — according to a weather forecast, the wind was strong enough to move small vehicles and trees. Because of the weather, we were not able to see the stars through the telescope but we could look at previously taken pictures. The sound of the wind we heard through the observatory was ferocious. Since the wind was so strong and there was lighting the bus driver was nice enough to drop us off right next to our campsite instead of making us walk the one kilometre because it was so dangerous.
Even though some of us fell asleep because we were so tired it was all worth it. At the end of the day, we fell asleep right away as our heads hit the pillow. I guess we didn’t die .
For the first part of the day we drove to the top of the mountain but we were in the clouds… it was still cool. We then drove to an important stop: A gas station (and depanneur ) where everyone filled up.
At our next stop, we discovered open pit mining, how the lift operator couldn’t see the elevator and the impact the mine had on the town, both when it was open and now that it is closed. We met Elizabeth, a local Guider, Jessie, our tour guide and ex-pathfinder, and Paolo, who had actually worked in the mine and learned about life in the town. We learned that meeting someone local definitely helps find good ice cream and the best routes out of town in rush hour.
Aquarium of Quebec – Sleeping Under the Fish? (By Paisley, Kaitlin, Alejandra Gwen with Anne)
Here we are at the aquarium, not knowing what we are getting ourselves into. After our warm welcome from Arianne and Laurence, they offered to take some of our bags to where we would be sleeping, in the fish tunnel. Not long after that, we got a VIP tour of the different enclosures. Shortly after our tour, we gathered to watch a movie. The popcorn and drinks provided were very scrumptious. Once the movie was over we headed to bed with our friends, the fish. While we were setting up our beds, we got to admire the under water life of many different creatures. Laying down to look up and seeing the different fish such as the leopard sharks, the starfish, the sunfish and many more fish swimming around us was very fascinating. Not long after that, the lights dimmed out for us all to sleep but little did we know, the fish had more energy once the lights were off. We could see the shadows of the fish moving around us, having the time of their lives. Early the next morning, we woke up to a healthy breakfast prepared for us which consisted of delicious pastries, a variety of beverages and a selection of fruit. It was quite yummy. Once we were all packed and ready for the day, we got a behind the scenes tour and we got to participate in the feeding of the leopard sharks and the octopus. Lucky for us we were able to then touch the octopus with the aquarist Marco. To finalize our adventure at the aquarium, we dispersed into small interest groups to explore unknown territories of the aquarium. While exploring, we got to pet the sting rays, watch the seal presentation and visit the gift shop, of course. Overall, our time spent at the aquarium was quite the experience and would be highly recommended as a Girl Guide activity for all ages.
Our trip wrapped up with a poutine lunch stop and a discussion about where our travels will take us next year!!
Special thanks to Janet and Esther for helping with campsite supervision, Mrs. Martin for instructions in proper tea etiquette and Elizabeth for helping make arrangements in Thetford Mines.